An Arizona state senator and long-shot gubernatorial candidate encouraged people to go learn more about a freelance border patrol hate group that the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as “one of the most virulent anti-immigrant groups around.”
Arizona State Sen. Al Melvin (R) cited the group during an explanation he gave on Tuesday of why he voted for House Bill 2462, legislation that lets Arizona create a “virtual fence” along the border between Arizona and Mexico. In describing why he voted yes, Melvin mentioned the American Border Patrol. The mention came during a long-winded explanation by Melvin of how border security is not just a federal issue, it’s a local issue too.
We are a border state. The border leaks like a sieve. It’s estimated that it could be costing Arizona up to $2 billion a year in related costs and that 10 to 15 percent of the people in our prisons, our schools, and our hospitals are illegals. We are going to get no relief from the Feds at least for the next three years. It’s our responsibility to do all that we can in a reasonable manner to stem the leaking like a sieve at the border. We owe it to our fellow citizens. I applaud Senator Worsley for coming up with this. There’s other technology — sensing cables. There’s a company in Cochise County, the American Border Patrol, I would encourage people to look at that website. We can’t just stand by and let this continue. We as a state have to take a stand. And I applaud the senator for bringing it forward and with that I vote yes.
Melvin’s comments came during a Senate Appropriations Committee meeting. The committee approved the legislation.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the American Border Patrol has railed against Mexican immigrations and its founder argues that Mexican immigrants have a secret plan to take over the Southwestern part of America.
“Mexicans, in the words of group founder Glenn Spencer, are a ‘cultural cancer’ following a secret plan, the Plan de Aztlán, to complete ‘la reconquista’ (the reconquest or takeover) of the American Southwest, which was once controlled by Spain and/or Mexico,” the SPLC page on the American Border Patrol read.
Melvin appears multiple times on the American Border Patrol website. His picture is featured on the front page next to an Associated Press story on HB 2462. The ABP website also links to a seven-minute video on border security featuring Melvin.
Melvin is one of a number of candidates in the GOP primary field running for governor. TPM has also reported on Melvin before. In December Melvin was caught wrongly attributing quotes on class warfare to Abraham Lincoln on Twitter. In February, during debate over a controversial anti-LGBT bill in Arizona, Melvin also claimed that there is no discrimination in the state.
Melvin hasn’t yet responded to TPM’s request for comment.
Watch the video of Melvin’s comments below, starting at around the 1:38:00 mark.